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Summary: As we examine these verses, we discover that there were three appearances of Christ. His past appearance took place in the incarnation. His present appearance is in the heavenly Holy of Holies. His future appearance will take place at the second advent

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CHRIST’S THREE APPEARANCES

Hebrews 9:23-28

The book of Hebrews talks about the superiority of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ over the OT sacrifices. The OT High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to present us before God. Christ entered a more perfect tabernacle. The OT sanctuary was merely a copy of the heavenly. Christ entered heaven itself.

As we examine these verses, we discover that there were three appearances of Christ. Note verse 24, 26, 28. His past appearance took place in the incarnation. His present appearance is in the heavenly Holy of Holies. His future appearance will take place at the second advent. In this message I want to change the order just a bit so we can see the chronology of the three appearances of Jesus Christ and the significance of those appearances to us.

I. CHRIST’S PAST APPEARANCE: CHRIST APPEARED TO DEAL WITH OUR SIN (9:26)

This speaks of his appearance in the past. Note:

A. Christ appeared at the end of the age. That is his appearance brought the OT era to a climax and was the turning point of history. We entered, as it were, the last days.

B. Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

C. Christ appeared to bear the penalty for our sin (27). Just as people die once, and then are judged for their sins. Christ died once for our sins. The took the punishment for everyone but only those who receive Christ will experience salvation.

D. Christ appeared to make us holy (10:8) The idea is that of “sanctification.” To set us apart unto God and for the glory of God.

II. CHRIST’S PRESENT APPEARANCE: CHRIST NOW APPEARS IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD FOR US (24)

Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to the Father, and now is exalted at the right hand of God where he reigns. Jesus did not enter into the earthly holy of holies. Rather he entered into heaven itself, into the heavenly tabernacle.

Where is Jesus now? He is in heaven. What is he doing? For one thing he is interceding for believers at the Father’s right hand. The Holy Spirit intercedes within us. Jesus intercedes in heaven for us. The present ministry of Christ as our great High Priest is what the book of Hebrews is all about.

He did not go into the earthly tabernacle but into heaven itself. Note “he entered into heaven, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Christ’s better sacrifice enabled him to enter God’s presence “for us” on our behalf. (See 1 John 2:1-2).

Moreover, Jesus invites us to enter into God’s holy presence. (See 10:19-22).

III. CHRIST’S PROSPECTIVE APPEARANCE: CHRIST WILL APPEAR A SECOND TIME WITHOUT SIN, FOR SALVATION (28)

Jesus came the first time to bear the sins of many. That is to God to the cross so he might become the supreme sacrifice of the ages. He took upon himself the punishment and penalty for our sins. He now appears in the very presence of God to intercede for us in our behalf. He will appear again to bring our salvation to completion and deliver us from the wrath of God..

A. Jesus is coming again to bring our salvation to completion. His coming will be apart from sin. That is, Christ is not coming to deal with our sin again. He has already done that. He is coming “for salvation,” not to save us, for he has already done that, but to bring our salvation to its glorious completion.

Whenever, the Old Testament High Priest entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, the people waited with eager anticipation for his return so they could know that the sacrifices he had offered were acceptable to God. Likewise, we who believe in Jesus Christ eagerly wait for His return from the Heavenly Holy of Holies. For when He comes for us we will know that his sacrifice has been accepted and that our redemption is fully accomplished. This is the “blessed hope” of the believer. Note that this appearance is for those who “eagerly wait for Him.” That is you must know Christ personally if you are to be ready when he comes again.

B. Moreover, Jesus is coming again rescue us from final judgment. There are two certainties: death and Judgment. Death is a certainty for all of us with the exception of those who will be alive when Jesus comes again. Moreover, there is a day of Judgment coming. The Bible describes, “a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” (Heb. 10:27). Jesus warned the people of his day to “flee from the wrath to come.” (Mt.3:7).

Jesus will be “revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe….” (2 Thess 1:7-10)

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